Saturday, June 26, 2010

Working Smarter

As a P.S. to my last post, I'd like to add that the easiest way to work smarter, not harder is to encourage your kids to help. My kids hate to clean, but they love to help. So if I make it more about helping me than about cleaning up, they are more willing and (dare I say it) happy to help clean. And its much easier on me, with my bulging 21 week pregnant gut to ask one of my beautiful, helpful daughters to pick something up off the floor for me than to bend down and pick it up myself. And its better for them, too. Its teaching them that they are a important member of the family and they can contribute to our family, too.

They don't always want to help. Sometimes they are hungry or tired or sad or angry and then I don't push them to help anyways, I give them a little space and ask them to help again later. Fortunately, I have 2 who are old enough to help (almost 3 and almost 6 years old) so usually at least one of them is ready and willing. And when one helps, the other usually wants to whether they are feeling particularly helpful or happy or not. Because they don't want to feel left out.

Also, there are some things that need to be done immediately and some things that can wait. If you concentrate on the stuff that needs to be done immediately and put off the things that can wait until the kiddos are asleep or otherwise occupied, that makes life easier, too. Things that need to be done immediately might be things that the kids can help with, safety issues (spilled water, toys where people will step on them and get hurt, small toys that need to be picked up so the baby doesn't put them in her mouth, etc), and things that it will benefit you to do now as opposed to later. Like wiping off the baby's high chair tray when she's done eating instead of leaving it until she's hungry again and whatever she's spilled has had time to sit and dry. Or rinsing off dishes when you're done eating so that when you have the time to put them in the dishwasher, they won't have gunk dried on that will muck up the workings of the dishwasher or require you to scrub them before sticking them in the dishwasher.

I'm not saying "don't put off until tomorrow what you could get done today" isn't still good advice, but think about what you're doing. Think about what you're prioritizing. Sure, you could sweep your floor 5 times a day (once after each meal and snack) OR you could spend time with your kiddos during the day, clean up anything bigger than crumbs by hand (or get your kids to help) and sweep at naptime, once the kiddos are in bed for the night or first thing in the morning. Think about your schedule.

I'm sure there is a time when the children are sleeping or otherwise occupied when you would be able to get some stuff done. Its not always easy to find that time. And sometimes that means putting off doing your own thing or having your own downtime. But for me, having a peaceful day with my children is like a whole day of downtime and its worth a whole lot more than a whole day of downtime. When it comes down to it, I would much rather spend the day with my kids than at a spa wondering what they are doing. . .


  1. I agree totally. I get much more help when I praise the one child who is helping by saying, "Oh, how helpful you are being." Within seconds I have four others right in there picking up wanting that praise also!

    Also, I have found the mini dust pans and brushes to be invaluable. Between five preschoolers, they get most everything off the floor.

  2. My kids love those mini brooms and dust pans. And we got ours from the Dollar Tree for $1 each. Best $2 I ever spent. . . Course, when the others get older, I'll have to get more. But still, a great buy.

    Oh and all I have to do to get more help is offer a job to one and then the other wants a job. Its just "not fair" for only one to be able to help. Works every time LOL. Well, every time except for those few times when I forget that they'll both want a job. Then I have to scramble to find another job quickly LOL.